11 July 2011

The Reagan Cult

The campaign for the Republican nomination for President is heating up. Hardly a day goes by without some bizarre statement by one of the dozen or so contenders and each of them is more bizarre than the last. While each has his or her own special obsession, one thing seems to unite them all, they all venerate Ronald Reagan. Put any two of them on the same stage and before a minute goes by, each will claim to be more worthy of the Reagan mantel than the other.

It's a curious thing, this sanctification of Reagan. Somehow a second-rate actor and TV pitchman parlayed his screen presence into the greatest role in the world. For eight years he played President of the United States. Unfortunately, it wasn't in the movies. It was in the real world where fantasy has real consequences.

To non-believers, this Reaganmania is incomprehensible. His record as President wasn't much better than his record as an actor; average, at best. Other than a few one-liners, he left America little of value. Take a look at how it really was in this Aljazeera piece: Reagan mythology is leading US off a cliff and then try to reconcile the real Reagan with the totem carried by Regan cultists. Where's the reason for the reverence?


  1. Before the time of Reagan, a guy named Jude Wanninski, wrote a memo called the two santa claus memo. In it he wrote that the Republicans would have to lower taxes while giving more in spending, in order to win elections. This was welcomed by Reagan, which explains a lot. The Republicans are not the party of fiscal responsibility. They are the party of giant debt.

  2. Giant debt indeed. The debt was $1T in Reagan's time and $9T when Bush2 left. But I wouldn't blame it entirely on the Republicans. Conservative Democrats helped run-up the tab. The problem is Conservatism not just Repulicans.

    Conservatism is ignorance wrapped-up in an irresistible urge to make it the basis of bad public policy.